Professor Ed Lalor awarded AR/VR Pilot Funding
Professor Ed Lalor has been awarded AR/VR pilot funding through Arts, Sciences and Engineering and NYS Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences. Pilot Awards within this program support exploratory projects related to the science, technology, and applications of virtual and augmented reality. Professor Lalor's project is titled, "Characterizing the neurophysiology of multisensory integration in natural and virtual reality environments."
The human brain has evolved to seamlessly integrate information received by multiple senses to markedly improve perception of and behavioral interaction with the world. One of the major challenges facing the field of virtual reality (VR) is how to present information to these multiple senses so that the user’s experience is unified and maximally realistic. To do that, it is imperative that we understand how the brain integrates multiple sensory inputs in real-world environments. However, the field of multisensory integration research remains dominated by classic paradigms that are decidedly unrealistic. Recently, the Lalor lab has developed approaches for analyzing neurophysiological data in the context of more real-word, naturalistic multisensory stimuli. However, even these experiments have so far only been conducted within very rigid laboratory settings. The present project seeks to develop and implement new paradigms for studying multisensory integration during 1) free behavior in a state-of-the-art Mobile Brain-Body Imaging (MOBI) facility at the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging (RCBI), and 2) virtual reality conditions using state-of-the-art VR technology.